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Canada-U.S. Relations in the Arctic : Conflict and Cooperation Stéphane Roussel (UQAM) Conference Northern Sovereignty and Political Geography in North.

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Presentation on theme: "Canada-U.S. Relations in the Arctic : Conflict and Cooperation Stéphane Roussel (UQAM) Conference Northern Sovereignty and Political Geography in North."— Presentation transcript:

1 Canada-U.S. Relations in the Arctic : Conflict and Cooperation Stéphane Roussel (UQAM) Conference Northern Sovereignty and Political Geography in North America Association for Canadian Studies in the United States Washington D.C., June 14 th, 2010

2 An Institutionalist point of view Institutions are the solution in Cnd-US relations Historical foundations Conflict resolution Cooperation Different proposal are floating in the air

3 Borders in the North

4 The Arctic Rush Durham University (

5 The North American Arctic

6 Current/Immediate Issues Global warming Social and Economical Development Increasing demand for governmental services Science/exploration (mapping)

7 Current/Immediate Issues Sovereignty In terms of TERRITORIAL integrity? Not really… In terms of LAW INFORCEMENT? Probably… In terms of domestic politics???

8 Territorial Conflicts in the Canadian North Lincoln Sea Hans Is. Beaufort S. NWP

9 The Beaufort Sea dispute

10 Canada vs the U.S nautical miles area 141 m. U.S. Canada Yukon Alaska

11 Territorial Conflicts Very difficult/Impossible to solve - Resources - Creating a Precedent (NWP) - National Identity (highly sensitive)

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15 Mid/Long Term Concerns: Increasing Human Activities (potential) Shipping Tourism and extreme sports Social and economical issues in local communities

16 Mid/long-terms security concerns (potential) Traffic monitoring Pollution control Search and Rescue “Human” (societal) security Terrorism Organized crime (incl. illegal immigration !) Low military threat CF remain an essential platforms providers Whole of Govt approach

17 The Gulf of Maine Decision (ICJ 1984)

18 Sovereignty, Identity, or Nation-Building? The perfect political storm Building an International identity Building a national identity National unity/national building “Concealing” a continentalist/conservative agenda

19 Highly sensitive (CDFAI – IRG annual poll 2008)

20 How? PUTTING SOVEREIGNTY ASIDE (for now), agree to disagree. Incremental approach. Focusing on « technical », non political, and non controversial problems (Search and rescue, traffic monitoring, pollution control, etc.).

21 Who? Unilateral? –Addressing public sensitivities toward Sovereignty –Local issues (ex.: human security) –Limited resources Multilateral? –Existing Institutions (AC) and Networks (ICC) –Informal institutions (Illulisat, Chelsea) –Common problems. The Arctic is indivisible –But many problem are local

22 NATOBarents Sea Council Arctic Council (1996) UNCLOSInuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) NORAD CANADA 1949Obs Nunavut, Inuvialuit (TNO), Nunalivut, Nunatsiavut 1957 USA 1949Obs.1996N-m.Alaska1957 RUSSIA N-m Yupik (Siberia)N-m. SWEDEN N-m.1996 N-m. NORWAY N-m. DENMARK GreenlandN-m. ICELAND N-m.

23 Who? (2) Bilateral? (in North America) –Strong historical record of cooperation –Strong historical division between Europe and North America –Many issues are local or regional rather than “global” –Interoperability –Small number of players –US Reluctance for multilateral agreement

24 Institutional framework Three basic models of institutions: 1. Military Command 2. Civilian (public or private) authority 3. Joint Commission

25 Military Command NORAD (1957) Binational Command Operational responsibilities Air/aerospace surveillance (monitoring, tracking, intercepting) Maritime NORAD? Limited functions

26 Civilian authority St.Lawrence Seaway Corporation Binational Corporation (crown owned) Seaway maintenance, traffic management Limited functions on Security

27 Joint Commission Permanent Joint Board on Defence (1940) International Joint Commission (1909) Officials (civ/mil) but non political Producing recommendations Large spectrum of issues covered A Permanent Joint Board of the North? An IJC for the North?

28 Advantages Creating an « habit of cooperation » Confidence Setting the table for a settlement of the bilateral conflicts in the North

29 Presentation based on: Samantha L. ARNOLD and Stéphane ROUSSEL, “Expanding the Canada-US Security Regime to the North?”, in Sven G. HOLTSMARK and Brooke A. SMITH- WINDSOR (eds.), Security Prospects in the High North: Geostrategic Thaw or Freeze?, Rome, NATO Defense College Paper no 7, 2009:


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